Blog The Writing Process What Story Do You Want as Your Legacy?

What Story Do You Want as Your Legacy?

The ProWritingAid Team

The ProWritingAid Team

ProWritingAid: A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.

Published May 09, 2018

Not to be morbid, but we will all die someday. It’s one of the few things you can count on. But it’s never too early to consider what you want others to think about you after you’re gone.

A few individuals leave a grand legacy of wealth to those they love. But most people leave an intangible legacy for their family, friends, and co-workers. They leave the love, admiration, and respect they’ve evoked in others.

Writers are in an interesting position to leave a tangible legacy—words others will remember us by for years to come. Even though tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, you still have time to create an amazing legacy.

Here are questions to help guide how you can shape your life today to create the legacy you want most.

  1. Consider your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances
  2. Tangible legacies writers can leave

Consider your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances

  • What do those closest think about me and what will they remember most?
  • What have I learned that I want to pass on? What changed my life that can help others?
  • Have I positively affected my children/grandchildren?
  • Do I need to make amends with anyone?
  • Will I be remembered in a positive light?
  • Will I be remembered as living my life to the fullest extent, or as someone to whom life simply happened?
  • Was my life respectable in a way that others could use as an example to follow?
  • What are my morals, beliefs, and values? Would I want someone to follow in my footsteps?
  • What do I need to change now to create the best legacy I can leave?

Now consider how you can offer something tangible for those you leave behind.

Tangible legacies writers can leave

Think beyond the blog posts, articles, and other content you’ve written for clients (although that, too, will live on). Here are big things, tangible ones, that you can leave behind for others to remember you.

1. Write a non-fiction book

You have plenty of knowledge and wisdom from years of writing. Why not leave that wealth of information for the next generation? Write a non-fiction how-to book to help others along the way. Give your best pointers and help others writers avoid the pitfalls you discovered. If you can shorten and ease one writer’s journey, consider that a fantastic legacy.

2. Write a book about your family

Research your family’s background and write a book for the generations to come. You could dig back in the records of your ancestors and leave a history book specifically about your family line. Your children, your children’s children, and their children will thank you someday.

3. Build an income-generating website

Use your writing skills to create a dense, content-filled website around your favorite hobby or interest. Then learn how to monetize it. Put your passions and skills to the test to build something memorable. You’ll end up with passive income every month from your money-making website. And you can bequeath it to your children.

4. Write your memoir

This may seem self-indulgent, but your children and grandchildren will love having an in-depth look into your life one day. You have so many stories to pass on, and your descendants can look to your memoir to understand how your choices shaped their lives. You don’t need to have your memoir published; just share it with those you love.

5. Write fiction

Here’s the biggie: Write that fiction book you’ve been dreaming about. The world is waiting to hear your voice. What could be more powerful than to touch someone deeply or entertain them when they need it most through the written word? And a book can live much longer than you can.

Be prolific; you’ll get better with each book. Self-publish or publish traditionally, whichever works for you. People will enjoy your words for generations to come.

When you choose the writer’s life, you can leave a tangible legacy behind. Benjamin Franklin says it best:

  • "If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

And more recently, Chuck Palahniuk said:

  • "We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."

What story do you want as your legacy? Let us know in the comments below.

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The ProWritingAid Team

The ProWritingAid Team

ProWritingAid: A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.

The most successful people in the world have coaches. Whatever your level of writing, ProWritingAid will help you achieve new heights. Exceptional writing depends on much more than just correct grammar. You need an editing tool that also highlights style issues and compares your writing to the best writers in your genre. ProWritingAid helps you find the best way to express your ideas.

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I really want to be a writer.
I have already begun my story with events and memories, and they come to mind. Some I had always planned to put on paper, others are sometimes generated by events and/or circumstances that evoke memories. Here's a sample of a Christmas Eve spent with my sister's family. Christmas at West Nyack After college in ‘61, I began working at a direct mail house in mid Manhattan. I kept my little apartment in Brooklyn, and loved the independence that came with it. I was finally totally self sufficient and free to do whatever and go wherever I wanted to and could afford. Linda, my sister, had moved with her husband, Larry and two girls at that time, Lauranne and Jeannie, to upstate New York at West Nyack. The youngest, Leanna was born later in November of ‘64. Larry was employed at the time, with Prentice Hall publishers. The company had purchased property outside of Nyack proper, in order to construct buildings in the future. Aside from the family residence, there was a cabin, swimming pool and pool house. And since the cabin’s use was primarily for the summers, my father set about providing some winterization to it. It was an ideal setting for a family, with lots of acreage, trees, a big yard and lots of room for the girls to play. They even maintained a good sized garden during the summers. So it was a fun place for me to go spend weekends away from the city, even in the winter. The girls went to nursery school and had lots of friends, including the children of the actor, Jack Klugman. The actress, Helen Hayes also lived up the street at a very beautiful and secluded estate. The first Christmas they were in West Nyack, we all gathered to celebrate the holidays. My parents were living in mid Manhattan at the time. I rode up with them, taking all the presents for everyone and preparations for a big Christmas meal. The night before the big day, we spent the evening in the kitchen, getting what foods we could, ready for the next day. Every year on Christmas Eve, my father would make hot buttered rum drinks. So when everything settled down, we stoked up the fire in the large living room fireplace, and relaxed. The cabin had a large living room and open area, with a stairway up to the bedrooms on one side of the large main room. We sent the girls off to bed, so the rest of the presents for them from Santa could be wrapped and put under the tree. Mom and dad took the other upstairs bedroom. There were two bedrooms upstairs, and one downstairs so Linda, Larry and I planned to sleep downstairs. I would sleep downstairs next to the fireplace on a cot we had found in the pool house. It looked pretty old, but seemed to be OK for the night. After mom and dad went off to bed, Linda, Larry and I turned of the lights, and whispered a last conversation, watching the fire dying down. I put on my pajamas, spread out my blanket on the cot and proceeded to lay down. As soon as my full weight was on the cot, a loud tearing noise came from the old canvas cot, as it ripped off the frame. Of course, I weighed a great deal less than now, but the old rotted canvas just couldn’t take it. We started to laugh, and couldn’t stop for several minutes. I don’t ever remember laughing that hard at anything since. I spent the rest of the night curled up in a big chair. It was one of the best Christmases we ever had as a family.
Wrote a biography of both my mum and my husband. So glad I did because new generations feel as though they really do know them and their special traits.

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